McGowan Government move to scrap Gender Reassignment Board

Attorney-General John Quigley has just announced the McGowan Government will progress legislation to repeal the Gender Reassignment Act 2000 and abolish the Gender Reassignment Board.

Under the reforms, to update sex or gender information on a birth certificate, applicants will no longer be required to demonstrate that they have undertaken surgical or medical intervention.

Rather, they will be able to provide a certificate from their medical practitioner or psychologist confirming they have received clinical treatment in relation to their sex or gender identity. Applications will be processed by the Registry of Births, Deaths and Marriages.

WA Labor committed to abolish the board back in 2017 at a state conference, aiming to bring Western Australia in line with other jurisdictions in Australia.

In recent months, local LGBTQIA+ organisations including TransFolk of WA, Rainbow Futures WA and PFLAG+ Perth were urging the McGowan Government to expediate action, following the resignation of the Board’s President.

To ensure the Board can deal with any pending applications – and any new applications received prior to the introduction of the reforms – the State Government has appointed Grantham Kitto as President of the Board. Kitto has been a lawyer for more than 30 years, and has been a member of the Board since February 2009.

The Board will prioritise existing applications – with Mr Kitto committing to complete eight cases ready for assessment – within the first week of his appointment.

“The McGowan Government is committed to LGBTIQA+ law reform and to improving the process of sex and gender recognition,” Attorney-General Quigley said.

“These reforms will bring Western Australia in line with the processes available for birth certificates throughout most of Australia – and are consistent with the process available for Australian passports.

“I thank Mr Kitto for agreeing to lead the Board while the State Government develops legislation to replace its functions with a modern and streamlined administrative process.

“I would also like to acknowledge and thank the current members of the board for their ongoing contribution.”

These reforms will take place alongside the State Government’s commitment to introduce a new Equal Opportunity Act for Western Australia, which will provide anti-discrimination protections to those who are trans, gender-diverse or non-binary without the need for recognition from the Gender Reassignment Board.

Leigh Andrew Hill

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